In kindergarten, I was often rewarded with gold star stickers for good behavior. Take a nap? Get a star. Show and tell? Get a star. Eat a snack? Get a star. If these stars were still awarded in adulthood, I’d have three stars already today.
Unfortunately, stars are not issued so freely outside of kindergarten. Businesses must earn a star rating from consumers. That is why user reviews are so valuable.
Today, consumers trust online reviews nearly as much as they do personal recommendations. Word-of-mouth marketing is evolving with word-of-“mouse” marketing. And it seems as though Facebook is moving toward increasing its presence in local search by introducing a ratings feature. With this feature, it can compete with online review aggregators like Yelp and Foursquare.
Star ratings, out of a possible five in total, are visible for some business pages under their company name. For over a year, Facebook has been collecting these ratings through their mobile app. However, reviews can now be captured through the web version as well.
For businesses, listing an address seems to be the major factor enabling the feature at this point. For example, Direct Online Marketing’s facebook page has star reviews, but Pepsi does not. Additionally, it seems that the only way to disable the feature is by turning off checks-ins (which will also remove the map from your Facebook page, so it is not advisable for local businesses to do this).
Users are not required to leave comments in order to review a business, and you can change your review at any time. When reviewing via web, you can set your privacy controls to limit the audience to public, friends or custom.
From an online reputation standpoint, this feature could be powerful for brands. In a statement to TechCrunch, a Facebook spokesperson said:
“We’re extending star ratings on Facebook from mobile to desktop – to make it easier for people to discover great businesses around them. This is beneficial for both businesses and consumers. Star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, making it eligible to appear in News Feed and help others discover a business they didn’t know about previously. For businesses themselves, this also leads to greater brand awareness.
As you may recall, star ratings launched in early 2012 with the introduction of Nearby on mobile. Now we’re bringing the visibility of star ratings to a more prominent spot at the top of Pages’ timeline on desktop and to the preview in News Feed.”
At this time there is no way for businesses to respond to reviewers. Stayed tuned to see how this feature develops.